Amanda Carr Debuts a Tribute to Boston’s Resilient Spirit: “Strong: A Boston Anthem”

 

 

April 15th marks the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombing. Once again we can lean on the power of  music to heal our minds, ease tension, and free us from painful memories. For those who might struggle to cope on this day we would like to introduce you to a song written just for you by our dear friend Amanda Carr, and performed by her writing partner Charlie Farren.   Music transports us into a peaceful place and it can mentor us—it takes a heavy heart and makes it feather-light. These two iconic Boston Musicians are determined to use their song as a catalyst to rejuvenate the spirit. They hope to make their new song “Strong” an official Boston Anthem.

Boston Strong became  a mentoring mantra: the slogan appeared on thousands of T-shirts, the brain-child of two Emerson College students. “Strong” was inspired by the way our community came together to persevere through a difficult time. Recorded to help inject a positive message into a dark day, we are so proud to present a sneak preview of this song today. We are asking all our Over My Shoulder Foundation friends to share this post and let’s get “World Strong”.

 

Amanda Carr

Amanda Carr

Boston, MA (March 17, 2014) – Like so many of us, vocalist/musician and Boston native Amanda Carr was moved beyond words by the tragedy that shocked the world, the city and the people of Boston at the 2013 Boston Marathon. Now, just over a year later, she found words that articulate triumph over tragedy. Her new song, written by Carr and sung by Boston’s own Charlie Farren, is dedicated to the spirit and the resilience of the people of Boston and is called “Strong: A Boston Anthem.”A petition drive to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to adopt the song as Boston’s o!cial anthem is now underway at www.BostonAnthem.com where fans can also download the song for free and watch it on YouTube. It has been gaining fast momentum on social media since its release.

“After last year, I felt so compelled to do my part in helping the city to recover, but didn’t want to write just another ‘Boston Strong’ song that focused on the tragedy” says Carr. “My hope is that this song will be embraced as an actual Anthem that Boston can be inspired by and call its own that, while paying tribute to all those who were a”ected by last year’s bombings, focuses more on our renewed spirit and unifies us as Bostonians.”

“Strong: A Boston Anthem” pays tribute to the resilient Boston spirit with lyrics like: “My town is made of Blood and Steel, its heart is beating like a drum” and “now we live to tell the story of our hopes, our strength, our glory”.

Says Carr, “This song speaks to everything that makes our city so great—our strength, our perseverance and our ability to move on but never forget.”

For more information on Amanda Carr and “Strong: A Boston Anthem” visit www.bostonanthem.com.

 

Read More

Rock Mentor Robin Lane on the Silver Screen

Singer-songwriter-mentor-performer-mother-philanthropist-healer: meet  my beautiful friend, rock icon Robin Lane. Like many aspiring female rockers, I sat glued to MTV ( when it was actually about music) waiting for my favorite videos. One of theses was by Robin Lane & The Chartbusters—their big song, “When Things Go Wrong.”  Years later Robin still writes, sings, and performs. She also dedicates much of her time to supporting people when things go wrong in their lives. Her nonprofit organization, Songbird Sings, uses songwriting and music to mentor people who have been through difficult experiences, such as sexual abuse, domestic violence, and human trafficking.

Now Robin Lane’s life story is about to come to the big screen, in a new film by Tim Jackson—named after the big song—and we are very pleased to have Larry Katz interview Robin just a few days before the movie premiere and benefit this Friday, April 4, at the Regent Theater in Arlington, MA.

 

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 12.46.14 PM“When Things Go Wrong,” the new film about Robin Lane, includes all the elements you expect to find in the story of a rock musician’s life.

Troubled childhood? Check.

Wild teen years? Check.

A shot at stardom with a major label record deal? Check.

The band’s breakup and the hard times that inevitably follow? Double check.

It’s all there in “When Things Go Wrong,” a new film which will be seen for the first time on Friday, April 4 at 7 p.m. at the Regent Theater in Arlington, MA, a premiere benefit screening that will include a live performance by Lane and her former band, the Chartbusters.

But—spoiler alert—the movie does not end with either the rehab stint or triumphant comeback found in your typical “Behind the Music”-style rock doc. These days Lane, the queen of the Boston new wave scene circa 1980, has found a new venue for her voice and guitar: leading songwriting workshops as a way to help victims of sexual and domestic abuse, at-risk teenagers, prison inmates, and the elderly.

While what Lane does in her workshops is a form of music therapy, she is quick to point out that she is neither a therapist nor a counselor.

“I’m a facilitator,” she said from her rural home in Western Massachusetts. “I facilitate these situations where people can, through songwriting, find a key out of their dilemma—a key to their own healing capabilities. My role is really just to help them find a way to write a song, to help them to heal themselves and get out of whatever they’re in that’s dangerous and not good for their lives.”

It’s not a job she consciously pursued, at least not at first, but it’s one that Lane has found herself eminently well-qualified for. Music, after all, had always been her own lifeline.

“I’d been writing songs for years,” she said, “and didn’t realize why. I’d always loved music, but if I hadn’t had songwriting I would be scared to think of what would have happened to me.”

Lane’s life story has more than its share of mental and physical hurt. Distant parents. Sexual assault. Domestic violence. Divorce. And a tantalizingly close, ultimately frustrating brush with stardom. When the first two Robin Lane and the Chartbusters albums failed to sell as much as expected, the band was tossed aside by their label, Warner Brothers. And after Lane gave birth to a daughter, Evangeline, she found she was no longer considered a serious contender in the male chauvinist rock world of the 1980s.

“I raised my child,” Lane said of her post-Chartbusters years. “Got married again. Had a couple of dogs. Played around. Made the ‘Catbird’ CD [ed. 1995]. Then I got divorced, around 1999.”

And almost without realizing it, she was embarking on a new career as a songwriting mentor.

Read More

Walking Away: How a Series of Mentors Reshaped Sam Polk’s Life

 

We are thrilled to feature this inspirational interview between Larry Katz and Sam Polk. It’s incredible the way a mentor at the right time can pry us open, leaving just enough space for the light to shine in, providing enough leverage for the next unexpected mentor to step up. Enjoy!

 

Sam Polk

Sam. Photography courtesy of Sam Polk.

Would you walk away from a job that paid millions?

Sam Polk did.

Four years ago Polk was working for a Wall Street hedge fund. When he received a $3.8 million bonus on top of a $1.5 million salary, Polk reacted with anger. He demanded that his bosses increase his bonus to $8 million. They raised their offer, but only if he agreed to stay with the firm for several more years.

Polk refused. He said he didn’t want to make the commitment.

But the bonus amount wasn’t the reason Polk quit his job. He had come to believe he was an addict hooked on making money—and it didn’t feel good.

Polk tells his compelling story in “For the Love of Money,” an essay published in January on the front page of the New York Times’ Sunday Review. It attracted far more notice than he expected.

“I had no idea of the impact it would have,” Polk said from Los Angeles, where he has launched Groceryships, a non-profit he has co-founded with his wife to provide needy families with “scholarships for groceries.”

“I’ve gotten over 10,000 emails,” he said. “I’ve been interviewed and been on all these radio and TV shows. It’s been overwhelming and shocking.”

In his New York Times story, Polk outlines how he came to understand the wisdom of that old saying, “Money can’t buy happiness.” It wasn’t an easy lesson, especially since he grew up being told the exact opposite. Polk’s salesman father, he writes, “believed money would solve all his problems.” Then, while attending Columbia University, Polk read in “Liar’s Poker” how a young Michael Lewis made hundreds of thousands as a Wall Street bond trader. He somehow missed the book’s dark side.

“My heroes,” Polk said, “were people who had made billions of dollars and risen to the top of Wall Street.”

A very different set of heroes would emerge later in Polk’s life—unexpected mentors who would profoundly alter his definition of success and a well-lived life. We wanted to know more about these influences and Sam Polk was happy for the opportunity to tell us about them.

Read More

Charming Support for OMSF at at Boston Design Week

 

Pictured (from left): Janice O'Leary, Denise Hajjar, Paula Daher, Dawn Carroll, Ivo Cubi, Carlotta Cubi, Jon Butcher, and Dave Connor. Photograph courtesy of Russ Mezikofsky.

Pictured (from left): Janice O’Leary, Denise Hajjar, Paula Daher, Dawn Carroll, Ivo Cubi, Carlotta Cubi, Jon Butcher, and Dave Connor. Photograph courtesy of Russ Mezikofsky.

On Monday, March 24, the Over My Shoulder Foundation (OMSF) partnered with Cumar, purveyors of fine marble and granite, to present Charmed by Charity: Mentoring in the Music, Design and Fashion Industries.

The event was held at the Alex & Ani outpost on Boston’s trendy Newbury Street, and featured a mix of local celebrities, media, and mentoring supporters. Guests were treated to light fare and copious attention from the Alex & Ani staff, who were on hand to help customers choose from an array of beautiful bangles and bracelets.

Headquartered in Cranston, Rhode Island, Alex & Ani is known for their collection of meaningful jewelry that “adorn the body, enlighten the mind, and empower the spirit.” 15% of proceeds from the evening’s sales were donated directly to the Over My Shoulder Foundation; guests who purchased $100 or more in merchandise were treated to The Path of Life, a book of testimonies by Alex & Ani customers, who share the ways the positively-focused jewelry changed their lives for the better.

Janice O’Leary, health and wellness editor of the global luxury publication Robb Report, formerly editor-in-chief of Boston Common magazine, was the event’s emcee, which kicked off with a welcome from Dave Connor, CUMAR general manager and OMSF board member. Guests were also treated to a song put together especially for the event: “The Path of Life” was co-written by Grammy-nominated Boston rocker Jon Butcher and OMSF Executive Director Dawn Carroll, and was inspired by the Alex & Ani book of the same title.

After that, Amanda Frederick, assistant manager of Alex and Ani’s Boston location, discussed Charity by Design. Cumar’s executive vice president, Carlotta Cubi, and Paula Daher, principal of Paula Daher Design, talked about the importance of mentoring in the stone and interior design industries, respectively. Then stylista Denise Hajjar, of the eponymous boutique, shared her insights from the fashion industry.

Before she took the mic, Paula Daher mentioned just how important mentoring has been to her as her career’s progressed. “It took me awhile to find [a mentor],” she said, “And in fact, I never thought I would. It’s men who tend to hold positions at the pinnacle level.” In response, she says that she feels even more compelled to mentor—in particular, women—now that she’s established herself.

Janice Dowling, another area designer and instructor at Boston Architectural College, agreed, and added that, “It doesn’t matter how far along in your career you are, or how old you are. There’s always something to learn. Be a sponge. Ask questions. Be curious.” Which just goes to show: mentors are needed at every stage of life.

 

About the Author

Karyn Polewaczyk is a freelance writer living in Boston and a staff reporter on personal finance for the Boston Globe.

Read More

Elayna Hasty, Anti-Bullying Mentor

Bullying wears many disguises and it can cause a life time of ache. Bullies can be found just about anywhere—on the playground, at the dinner table, or even in the office. The harm can be physical or psychological. Today we feature Elayna Hasty, a rising humanitarian star. When we first met Elayna, she was only eleven years old, but she was already mentoring us on how to be confident-genuine-compassionate-supportive. Elayna is the perfect example of a young woman living her life well. Girls against Bullying (G.A.B.) is her “anti-bullying” support page. Take a look at all she has done since we featured her last, all while managing a full-time schedule at school! 

DSC_0221My name is Elayna Hasty and last year Over My Shoulder helped me by supporting me with my G.A.B. Girls. Girls Against Bullying was started three years ago, and G.A.B. Girls are girls that stand together against bullying. They know that they are uniquely beautiful, inside and out. I started G.A.B. for several reasons. Going into a new school, I was being bullied by kids, but I was also being bullied by and an adult. One of my best friends was also so having issues at her school—and those girls were so mean that she is now being home-schooled, and I hardly ever see her.

I went to my mom for help and advice.  She knew I was hurting and did what she could do to help. She told me to take the negatives and turn them into positives because, she said, every experience can be made into a positive learning experience.  It wasn’t easy, but she was right. I decided that I wanted to help others avoid being bullied and to support my friends, because that’s what friends do.

Mom and I came up with a facebook page and a website. I did a lot a lot of research on how I could help others by giving them support and advice, as well as sharing statics about bullying. I have also been writing to moms and their daughters who reach out to me for advice, and have been giving workshops whenever possible. My mom bought bracelets and t-shirts to help support G.A.B, and workshops help with costs for these projects.

Because of G.A.B. I have helped others and grown a lot in the process. I still believe “Bullying is a real problem but it has very real solutions. Sometimes girls feel down and not always confident in themselves. I want girls to know they are uniquely beautiful both on the inside and out.” I am now trying to help others have enough self-confidence not to be another bystander.

Last year, I was blessed to be part of Kids Are Heroes last year. My hometown paper also did an article and I was able to talk about G.A.B on a Christian radio station, on Super Girls Radio, on the Inspire Me Today site, and in BYOU Magazine. I am now also a mentor in school for kindergartners and help coach the youth team for competitive cheer. I am on a level three competitive cheer team and I feel good knowing that I can help younger girls not only with their cheering, leadership, and team-building skills. My work on G.A.B. has made me want to be a Pediatric Psychologist, so that as an adult I will be able to help girls stand against bullying and be a support system to those who need it. I had a great support system, but not everyone does.

Thanks to OMSF for supporting me. I am very grateful I have had people to pull me up when I was down!

Read More